Taly Matiteyahu, an L.A.-based entrepreneur, co-founded audio-only dating app, Blink Date, but isn’t sure how to scale it. Inc. brought her questions to a dating-apps expert, Ankur Jain–the co-founder and CEO of venture fund Kairos and contacts management app Humin, and former VP of product at Tinder. –As told to Coeli Carr
Matiteyahu: In 2012, while living in Tel Aviv, I ate dinner at a restaurant that operated in total darkness as a way to call attention to the experience of blind people. This gave me the idea for a nonvisual approach to dating that relied on personality to match people, rather than physical appearance.
Then, in February 2020, Netflix launched Love Is Blind, a reality show founded on a similar premise, which helped inspire me to pursue my nearly decade-old idea and create a “blind” dating service: Blink Date.
Currently, my co-founder, Laura Ciccone, and I have around 400 enthusiastic beta testers lined up to make an audio-fueled connection. But we need more trial users to ensure matches, to validate the app–and to give us suggestions to help optimize it. Where can we find them?
Jain: Dating apps are a numbers game. If you look at Tinder, the average user swipes 100 profiles per day. It’s hard to match with people in a quality way during the early stages of interaction. Which means it’s become nearly impossible to break through the crowded dating app market–you need millions of customers and enough liquidity to keep finding new people. It’s unlikely you’ll find a large volume of users who want to invest time into having conversations; if the first three or four conversations suck, people won’t come back to the app.
Rather than trying to force an open-ended dating concept, in which users are connected with random people hoping to have an audio chat, gamify the experience and focus on becoming a platform that helps people meet within preexisting or vetted communities.
This strategy doubles both as a way to make the product experience work at scale and as a way to create a no-cost distribution channel. Any existing groups that want to foster relationships could opt into Blink Date as a meaningful way of meeting people with similar interests and backgrounds–without running the risk of identification. That makes spending time on a conversation feel worthwhile.
It also solves your scaling problem; this concept could work with as few as 100 people per community. I say lean into the audio-only aspect as a way for a preselected group of people to get to know one another.
From the May/June 2021 issue of Inc. Magazine